BOSTON (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi pitched eight dominant innings and closer Craig Kimbrel held on during a shaky ninth to help the Boston Red Sox beat the second-place Yankees for the third game in a row and expand their lead in the AL East to season-high 8½ games with a 4-1 victory on Saturday.
One night after Rick Porcello threw an 86-pitch, one-hit complete game, Eovaldi shut out the Yankees on three hits in sending them to their season-high fourth straight loss.
Down to their last strike, the Yankees rallied against Kimbrel on back-to-back doubles by Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius. A pair of walks loaded the bases before Greg Bird hit a routine flyball for the final out.
J.D. Martinez hit his big league-leading 33rd home run and Mitch Moreland also connected against Chance Adams, who made his debut in the majors.
The Red Sox, with the best record in baseball, go for a four-game sweep Sunday night with David Price scheduled to face Masahiro Tanaka.
Eovaldi (5-4) struck out four and walked one. He has pitched 15 shutout innings since he was acquired from Tampa Bay last month for a minor league pitcher.
Kimbrel was one strike away from a perfect inning before the Yankees rallied. Walked to Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres brought up Bird.
The Yankees were missing Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, and they had to shuffle their rotation when J.A. Happ contracted hand, foot and mouth disease just as Sonny Gray was sent to the bullpen because of ineffectiveness.
Adams was called up from Triple-A and took the loss despite allowing just three hits — two of them homers — for three runs, walking one and striking out two in five innings.
Moreland hit a two-run shot to right in the first, and then Martinez made it 3-0 in the fourth with a homer over the Green Monster. A fan who brought a broom to the game — apparently to cheer the Red Sox on to a series sweep — used it to retrieve the ball from light stanchion.
After Boston won the opener 15-7, a game that had 27 hits and seven homers, pitching has returned to the series. Porcello, Eovaldi, and Kimbrel held New York to six hits and two runs in the next 18 innings.
A day after some inside pitching led to warnings and the ejection of Boston's Alex Cora — the first of his managerial career — Eovaldi put his first pitch to Stanton in the first behind the batter's head. There was no further hubbub.
Yankees: Judge is expecting to start swinging a bat "soon," with a goal of returning to the lineup in three weeks.
Red Sox: Put newly acquired 2B Ian Kinsler on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. INF Tony Renada was called up from Triple-A to replace him, and 2B Dustin Pedroia was moved to the 60-day DL to create a spot on the 40-man roster. ... SS Xander Bogaerts returned to the starting lineup for the first time since he was hit on the hand with a pitch on Tuesday.
Yankees: Tanaka (9-2) will try to keep the Yankees from being swept for the second time all season.
Red Sox: Price (11-6) allowed one run in eight innings against Philadelphia in his last start.
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